When we go somewhere that requires a lot of walking, Joy’s little legs tire very quickly. She starts to slow down and stumble and cry. That’s when Nana picks her up and carries her. The burden of her weight rests on me. I love to hold her, but at almost thirty pounds, she can become a heavy load pretty quickly. I know every parent and grandparent is nodding. Those babies get heavy, and as they age, the burdens they bring shift the weight from our arms to our knees. The idea of carrying others’ burdens has its roots in Israel’s ancient worship traditions.
When God gave Moses instructions for the priests, He said, “Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel . . . Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders before the Lord” (Exodus 28:9,12). Aaron, the high priest, would enter the holy of holies at the appointed time to make atonement for the sins of the children of Israel. He would come before God with the names of each of the twelve sons of Jacob, the family tribes of the nation, engraved on the stones that made up part of his ritual garb. He would literally bear the weight of the names of the sons of Israel while symbolically bearing the weight of their sin on his shoulders.
At Calvary, Jesus bore the weight of every sin you and I have ever committed. But it wasn’t a symbolic act like the priest bearing the names of the sons of Israel, and it was far more than thirty pounds. The weight of all the sins of humanity – including your sin and mine – was a real, crushing burden heaped on the Son of God.
I bear the weight of Joy because I love her. Jesus bore the weight of your sin because he loves you. I’m nearing the time, though, when my granddaughter will be too big of a physical burden for me to carry. Here’s the good news: you will never be too big of a burden for Jesus. Your sins will never outweigh His love for you. You can rest on this promise Beloved – Jesus will carry you – all the way home.